Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Every pregnancy is different and unique. However, inevitably, there’s one thing in common which is weight gain during pregnancy. You’ll gain weight, and it is completely normal and necessary, as you’re growing a baby underneath your belly! Although weight gain during pregnancy is important, it hasn’t been given enough emphasis it deserves.
What Does The Research Say?
A recent scientific report of over 2000 pregnant women found that nearly half of the women gained more than the recommended weight during pregnancy. Another recent review also found that more than 70% of the women surveyed were unaware of how much weight gain was appropriate during pregnancy.
The new federal pregnancy guideline (2018) recommends all pregnant women should be offered the opportunity to be weighed at every antenatal visit. Health professionals should provide support and resources to help pregnant women keep their weight gain under control.
The Impact On Early Life Nutrition
The amount of weight gain in pregnancy can profoundly affect the future health of you and your baby.
Women who don’t put on enough weight during pregnancy are at higher risk of delivering pre-term babies or having babies with low birth weight.
Conversely, excessive weight gain during pregnancy increases the chances of having a larger baby (macrosomia) and increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. It also increases the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome for you and your child later in life.
What Is The Recommended Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
The recommended weight gain in pregnancy depends on your weight before pregnancy (and body mass index, BMI).
A higher weight gain is ideal for you’re underweight, while if you’re carrying excess weight, a lower weight gain is desirable.
If your pre-pregnancy BMI (kg/m²) is:
- less than 18.5 (underweight), you should aim for between 12.5 and 18 kg total gain throughout your pregnancy
- 18.5 to 24.9 (healthy weight range), 11.5 to 16 kg
- 25.0 to 29.9 (overweight), 7 to 11.5 kg
- 30 or more (obese), just 5 to 9 kg
Where Does The Weight Go?
Here are some interesting facts if you’ve been wondering where all those extra kilos go assuming if your baby only weighs 3 – 4 kilos at birth: (based on an average figure)
|Baby||3.0 – 4.0 kg|
|Breast||0.5 – 1 kg|
|Amniotic Fluid||1 – 2 kg|
|Larger Uterus||1 kg|
|Extra Blood Volume||1.2 – 1.5 kg|
|Fat Stores for Breastfeeding||2.5 – 3.5 kg|
|Extra water (fluid retention)||1.0 – 1.5 kg|
First Trimester Gain
You can expect to gain 0.5 – 2 kilos in the first three months of pregnancy.
The truth is that during the first trimester, you don’t need extra calories than usual. You certainly don’t need to eat for two. Your energy intake only increases by 300 – 450 calories a day during the second and third trimesters. That’s equivalent to just a glass of milk and half a sandwich.
The key is to eat ‘twice as healthy, not twice as much.
Second And Third Trimesters Gain
If your pre-pregnancy BMI (kg/m²) is: (based on an average figure)
- less than 18.5, aim ½ kg per week
- 18.5 to 24.9, aim ½ kg per week
- 25.0 or more, aim <300g per week
However, weight gain during pregnancy is very individual. It is dependent on many factors such as your weight before the pregnancy, fluid build-up, multiple births, morning sickness and the size of your baby, so it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about your target pregnancy weight goals.
What If I’m Expecting Twins Or Multiple?
Based on the current available studies for twin pregnancies, if your pre-pregnancy BMI is:
- Below 18.5, consult with a dietitian or your doctor
- 18.5 to 24.9 (healthy BMI range), aim 17 to 25 kg of total gain (1.9 – 2.8 kg per month)
- 25.0 to 29.9, aim 14 to 23 kg of total gain (1.6 – 2.6 kg per month)
- 30 or more, aim 11 to 19 kg of total gain (1.2 – 2.1 kg per month)
Higher early weight gains in multiple pregnancies are beneficial for supporting placental function and subsequent fetal growth because the placenta ages more quickly in multiple pregnancies, which shortens the gestational period for transferring nutrients to the developing fetuses.
Approximately 4 – 5 kg should be gained in the first three months of pregnancy.
If your weight is increasing faster than expected or if you’ve experienced weight loss, it’s best to seek immediate advice from your doctor, midwives or a prenatal dietitian.
Put What You Learnt Into Action
Now I’d love to hear from you. Based on your pre-conception BMI, what is your ideal pregnancy weight goal? Are you currently under or over? What actions do you need to make right now? Let me know in the comment below.
With so much love❤️,